Monday, December 10, 2012

Last email as a full-time missionary!

Ya, it's a little weird.
Kind of surreal.
Hasn't hit me yet.
We are going bowling today for Pday.
Usually not my scene, but when it's free it becomes my scene.
A member down in Sequim owns a bowling alley and closes it down on Mondays so that we could bowl all to ourselves.
I have to finish making everyone's homemade xmas gifts.
Tomorrow is the mission xmas party.
I am going in a really festive aka ugly outfit.
i borrowed a tshirt with cats all in santa hats and covered in lights that says "meowy christmas."
and a xmas cardigan with beads, bows, presents, and shoulder pads.
right on.
for the white elephant gift exhange i am bringing a human ponytail of hair that i found in our apt.
not even making that up.
its pretty disgusting if you ask me.
but isn't that the point?
we had two miracle baptisms this weekend!
Mesky and Kyra.
Kaylee backed out AGAIN.
sad day.
but life rolls on.
She'll get baptized sooner or later.
My comp has been really sick this past week which has worked out kinda nice as I didn't feel as bad spending a good chunk of time at the library writing my final report.
It is customary in this mission for departing missionaries to write a final report.
A report of sorts that tells of your great experiences, lessons learned, take-aways etc.
It is something that I have dreaded my whole mission.
Writing is one of my passions and strengths so you would think I would love it.
But how do you capture a mission on paper?
You can't.
Doesn't do it justice.
So I contemplated not writing one.
Or if I did write one, just write some stuff down for the sake of writing some stuff down.
But lucky enough I got some extra energy and motivation and wrote what I feel like is a decent piece of literature.
If anyone wants a copy, ask and I'll email it to you.
I absolutely love my mission. not lovED but love.
as in currently.
forever and ever.
I'm not scared to come home.
But I don't know what to expect.
Times are changing.
I'm glad my mission gets buried in its own little time capsule, remaining sacred and preserved.
See you guys in a week!
Sister Baylon

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hey everyone,

This week went by reallllyyyy fast.  We did a lot of traveling to and from China and the U.S. or rather PA to Silverdale.  We had to drive down for a spur of the moment zone conference in which we watched a video of a press conference following the announcement of the change in missionary age.  Elder Holland spoke and President Weaver wanted us to watch so that we would be informed of what all these changes were going to mean for us.  The size of the mission geographically will remain the same but the number of missionaries in an area will increase.  We cover two areas here in PA and so with the influx of more missionaries in the near future, every area, including branches and YSA wards will most likely have their own set of missionaries.  Most of the changes won't affect me directly, because I'll be HOME!!!!!

It was so nice to see Cathy and John!  Wow, talk about a small world to have family in literally my neck of the woods.  They live a few miles from our apartment in a more woody area of town.  They took us out to a nice restaurant in PA called The Bushwhacker.  haha when I first got to the area and we drove by the restaraunt I thought it was the weirdest named place.  But it was way good.  We just talked and laughed and chatted.  Cathy said that I remind her a lot of you, mom.  haha. They are super cool and easy going and are going to have us over to their house sometime soon for a homecooked pot of taco soup which is John's specialty we hear.

We got invited last minute to drive down to Bremerton for the Gig Harbor Missionary fireside.  We have still been doing those but this is the first one that I have gone to since being in PA.  It was amazing as usual.  I had a feeling dawn on me that this presence that we missionaries have is pretty astounding.  It might be hard for us to recognize it because we are the ones that live so close to spirit everyday that we don;t really realize what we are walking around with.  But to others it is really tangible, how rich and thick the spirit is around us.  Basically, I am really going to miss being that close to that special spirit, that missionary mantle, when I inevitably go home.  I am really motivated to really squeeze everything I got out of me until the end of the end of my mission.  There is still so much that I want to do and accomplish and still ample time to do it.

The mission finished reading the Book of Mormon together for now a second time.  Making it my sixth time completing it since being out in the mission field.  I have a goal of 8 time by December 18th and I know I'll make it.

Miracles have been abound this week.  We have just been finding some really amazing and prepared people and have had some really powerfully spiritual lessons that we've taught.  We had 7 investigators attend church on Sunday! That is a record for this area, I believe.  John came!  At a hefty price, too.  The private transportation company that the church has agreed to pay is $60 one way.  So we can't afford to bring him each and every week.  Way sad.  But it's better than not at all! We met a guy, Dan, tracting on Thursday night, he came on a church tour friday night and came to church sunday and we have a return appointment with him tuesday.  He is looking into being baptized on Oct 27th.  MIRACLE. 

For my birthday I am having the best gift of all, a birthday-TISM!! haha well 2 birthday-tisms actually.   A mom, Angela, and her 12 yr old daughter, Mckenzie, are getting baptized on my birthday.  So RAD.  The day before on the 19th we have a sister's training meeting down in Tacoma and there are 2 other sisters that have birthdays this week so it'll be a party for sure.

I can't believe that I only have 9 weeks left on my mission. Cannot even believe that. Going to work till it's down to the wire.
I'll close my epistle with something I wrote down this past week in my study journal:
It's an excerpt from True to the Faith and stems from the scripture in Helaman 3:35

"To be humble is to recognize gratefully your dependence on the Lord-- to understand that you have constant need for His support.  Humility is an acknowledgement that your talents and abilities are gifts from God.  It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that you know where your true strength lies.  You can be both humble and fearless.  You can be both humble and courageous.  The Lord will strengthen you as you humble yourself before him."

Love y'all,
sister Baylon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hey guys,

Everyone can let out a sigh of relief.  I stepped back from the edge.  Man, this week has felt a world of difference from the other week.  And the ironic thing was that this past week should have been harder than my hardest week here in Tacoma.

-some irate tattoo'd dude cussed us off his property.  I thought he was going to punch me.

-i got a $124 red light camera ticket....with my bishop and his wife behind me in the intersection.

-i found out that a major side effect of that Celebrex that i was taking for my inflamed cartilege is depression. wow, that would have been helpful to know. Sheesh, makes a lot more sense why the week after i got transferred (the week i stopped taking it) i felt like a rain cloud.

-i was lucky enough to receive a 45 min ripping on the phone from sister weaver. in which i cried. and i never cry from stuff like that usually.

But the difference was that i had more faith, hope, charity, and love.  In Helaman 5:40-41

"And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: what shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us? And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent."

So that was all it took. Faith unto repentance.  I had no more excuses not too.  I pushed aside my pride and got down on my knees and made a pledge to change.  And i asked for help.  That is one of the biggest markers of humility.  asking for forgiveness and recognizing that you cannot do things alone.  Remember, change can happen immediately with faith, obedience, and repentance.  Healing starts sooner when you let it.

we had a lot of good things happen too.

-we found 5 really solid miracle new investigators.

-that cool black girl in the wheel chair, Kasondra, let us start teaching her again.  she is growing and progressing ever so slightly. finding more hope.  i don't know if i ever mentioned why she is in a wheelchair. but 2 years ago, Kasondra attempted to take her own life by jumping off a freeway overpass in downtown tacoma.  she should have died.  but as her new tatoo says," i am living proof." she is living proof that God lives. that he can heal even the most broken people. literally and figuratively. she has butterflies all over the walls of her apt.  she loves them because they symbolize change. metamorphosis. becoming something beautiful that can fly away. she's legit.

Our mission had the opportunity to go up to this place called Zion's camp up in Belfair.  It's about an hour or so away from Tacoma up northwest on the kitsap peninsula.  The church owns the property and it is usually used for girl's camp/scout camp. stuff like that.  we used it for spiritual lessons learned through physical activities.  Ropes course, trust fall, log hopping, climbing over a 12 ft wall.  It was really cool.  I'm not going to lie, i went in with a dismal attitude.  but to my surprise, i had a change of heart and i really had some great take-away experiences.

we had a baptism for this lady named lisa.  she is a psyhiatrist/psychotherapist.  she is very very intelligent. owns a nice car. nice house. has a stable job. ironically, my most depressed day of the transfer was the day that we met her.  God and his sense of humor.  sending me a psychiatrist.  she is the definition of "elect."  just so prepared for the gospel.   inviting her to be baptized was the easiest thing ever.  she was a referral from a member in another ward that meets in our bldg.  he is a marriage and family counselor that works in the smame office that she does. lisa and brad have had several gospel discussions over the course of their time working together.  but it wasn't until lisa had a dream that she was drowning in a river and brad had reached in to pull her out of it, did she feel like now was the time for her to baptized.  she was adopted as a baby and found out in her early 20's that her biological mother was LDS.  lisa said that she has always felt drawn to Mormons and couldn't really explain why other than that they are really nice people.  she vividly remembers visiting the tabernacle in SLC when she was 8 yrs old and hearing the Mormon Tabernacle choir sing. she described her experience there as a homecoming. she felt like she was coming home and has ever since longed to be part of the family, the community of the church.  so neat.  she really taught me a lot about faith. about believing. about not fearing. but trusting. here is a lady that has wealth of knowledge. of science. of history. of knowledge. of literature. and she was humble and willing to set that all aside in the sense that she was willing to feel and learn more with her heart.  being humble and willing are the keys to change and repentance. to faith and hope. to happiness and joy.  i really feel that lisa was just as much supposed to find me as i was supposed to find her.

i love seeing change. the only constant is change. life is to change. the gospel is change.

love you guys,
sister baylon

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hey Hey.

Alright.  Wow. I feel such a great sense of wonder and awe.  Of gratitude and appreciation.  Which is ironic considering that this past week had been a burning wreckage.  I struggled.  I defied.  I resisted.  I rebelled.  I doubted.  I relinquished.  I quit.  Inside.  All of the battles I fought and lost or straight up just surrendered were within the confines of my own mind.  Inward turmoil I suppressed for so long.  Without divulging too many details, my foundation of faith was really devastated and shaken a while back in the earlier months of my mission.  The roots of the problem still clenched in the ground.  The disease still lay dormant.  What am I talking about?  Faith.  Faith and Hope in Jesus Christ.  In His Atonement.  In His Gospel.  In His Father.  "See that you serve Him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength" (D&C 4)  I was serving with my physical, intellectual, and social capacities, but I was keeping my heart to myself.  I was not totally surrendering all that I was and all that I am to the Lord.

This morning at the gym (we got cut a really sweet deal at the local YMCA), I read a talk called "The Fourth Missionary."  I have read it several times over and even shared insights from it with you all at home in emails past.  I felt prompted to bring it with me to read on the Stairmaster instead of just picking up some magazine they'd have lying around there.  Here are some really key points that stood out to me as I read.  I think they apply to us all, no matter what arena we are fighting in.  The battle we wage is still the same.  At the root, the crux, the core of it all, is fighting a battle against ourselves.  Our natural inclinations.  Our inadequacies.  Our weaknesses.  Our insecurities.  Our sins.  Our temptations.  Our fight is against Satan.  Did you know that?  It's not really against your co-workers.  Your neighbors.  Your siblings.  Your spouse.  Your childhood.  Your friends.  Your enemies.  Just THE enemy.  The Father of lies that wants us to become miserable like unto himself.  Whatever we may feel like is throwing punches at us or kicking us when we are down will all essentially boil down to the fact that we need to believe, have faith in, and live the gospel of Jesus Christ centered on the Atonement if we are to be happy and find joy.

-Your greatest work: your most important creation is and will ever be you. (I honestly spent 15 months of my mission believing that the reason I came on a mission is to baptize.  To help other people.  That this was not about me.  But it is.  That my mission has everything and nothing to do with me.  It's all about what I need and not about what I want. I've just come to start to realize the reason why God needed me to come here on a mission and I am excited to spend the remaining 3 months of my mission unearthing more of the story.)

-To believe that weaknesses and deficiencies in your character are unchangeable is to reject the central truth of the plan of salvation.

-This life is a path on which you never stand still.  Either you move forward towards becoming more like God or backward towards the Adversary. (I thought that I could just stay put.  Stationary for a little.  Take a breather.  Nope.  Life is like a treadmill.  If you don't move forward you'll get bucked off the back.)

-"And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can DO NOTHING." (D&C 18:19)  I had sunk so low in discouragement and apathy that I told myself that I could honestly say that I had no faith, hope, or charity therefore I AM NOTHING.  But this scripture tells me that without those things I can ACCOMPLISH nothing.  Not to think less OF myself but less ABOUT myself as I go about and do this work.  I am striving to develop and attain more of these attributes.

-The purpose and central blessing of life (or my mission) is CHANGE.  It is to be changed to become more like Jesus Christ.  To change, evolve, become is the objective of the Gospel.  But it happens only if and when your heart is right.  It happens only if you do not fight against God. (Which is what I was doing when I was withholding my heart.  It was the only thing the Lord didn't already have of mine.  My will) It happens only if you unconditionally surrender your will to the Lord.

-You CANNOT be spiritually changed against your will. (this is why I struggled so much.  I didn't want to change.  It was too painful.  I had no desire to change.  Until...the pain of change became less than the pain of staying the same.)

-You live contrary to the nature of happiness when you live contrary to God.

-You can't be happy if you don't want to do the things that lead to happiness, even if you do those very things. (The bite-the-bullet or grin-and-bear it techniques won't work here.  Your natural self that is suppressed so long will become unruly and explode if all you are doing is changing your behavior and not striving to change your nature.)

-Your world is in your head.  Get your head right and your heart will follow, and you will be right.

-It is up to you.  You cannot be changed to become more like God, if within your heart you fight against God; if within your heart you resist, resent, and hold fast to what you rather would do.

-Change takes effect immediately with obedience.  It doesn't take eons of time.

-The realization of your amazing, astounding, and true potential happens only in the hands of the Lord.  But you and only you can place yourself in those masterful loving hands.

Pretty astounding.  I felt really humbled as I wrote those thoughts down in my study journal this morning.  I have a bit of desire, faith, and hope and that's all I need to get things moving.  It'll be hard, but will get easier over time.  A lot easier than continuing to sink in quicksand of self-loathing and doubt.  I never imagined ending my mission quitting with 3 miles to go.  Actually I did, but I figured that something would happen by the time I went home that would change so that I could sprint and collapse at the end.  To finish and complete something really difficult but with the satisfaction and confidence that I had given all that I could.  That "stuff that would happen so that I could change"  is right now.  I have changed a lot over my mission but there are still a couple big stones to unturn.  It's a heavy job alone.  But one that can be done with the help of One that has carried the world.  In all that I have doubted or questioned, I have never, ever, ever doubted in Jesus Christ.  Even when I have doubted God.  I have never doubted that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World.  That he suffered, bled, and died for me so that I could learn heaven on earth.  So that I could be more fit for the kingdom.  What a miracle.  What a blessing.  How grateful I should be for that gift and opportunity.  So cheers to doing hard things.  To keep going with faith and hope in good things to come.  To be molded, shaped by His hands and to be one day carried and embraced in His loving arms.

-Sister Baylon

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July 31, 2012


How is everyone doing.  Man, I hope things are picking up for Jill in Japan.  I bet that she feels like she is in an alien world being so far from home.  My advice to you, Jill, would be to take everything in stride and laugh at yourself.  Elder Richard G. Scott said something about a good sense of humor being an escape valve for the pressures of life.  I know that whenever I am not happy out here on my mission or feel down, I look and see how much I've laughed that day and what I could do to find humor even in the hard down and out times. 

This week's fun facts:
-some punk let the air out of two of our tires last PDAY.  Apparently we have made enemies with someone that only likes to target our car the night before a fun planned PDAY. Sheesh.

-haha this 20 yr old  kid out here in Lacey, he's a member of another ward in the stake, heard through the grapevine that I really like mustaches.  Haha the poor kid, spent who knows how long trying to grow a beard in hopes of me diggin it.  Makes me think of the end of that one Ke$ha song. Anywayy....

-I screamed at an unheard of decibal and jumped 50ft in the air when I was walking up to the door at my ward mission leader's house.  They have a bunch of overgrown plants that cover the walkway so you kind step through a jungle floor.  So yesterday, I was walking and I hear the ground rustling by my feet and look down and there is a fat black snake right next to my foot!!!! I scared their dog half to death it started going nuts and barking.  My comp was dying from laughing so hard at my reaction.  She'd never heard/seen someone get so freaked out over a snake

- Sister Daines and I both spoke in church in the 3rd ward on one of the latest general conference talks from Elder Holland: "Laborers in the Vineyard."  I gave it off the cuff again because.....

I found out this last week that I inflamed cartilege in my sternum.  I was complaining of chest pain for a few days that would flare up throughout the day and was making it uncomfortable to work.  I had called Sister Weaver to see if she could schedule me in somewhere to see a Dr.  So you know it must have been legit if I wanted to see a DR. because I DO NOT LIKE THE DOCTOR.  The inflammation can be triggered by a lot of things but the Doc thinks that it is from stress/anxiety.  I told him that I don't feel particularly anxious about anything or anymore stressed than I normally do.  He asked me how long I had been out on my mission, how much longer, I have left and what my plans were when I got home.  That triggered pain.  So apparently, the lack of sleep, decreased appetitie, headaches, and fatigue have all been tell-tale signs of anxiety.  I didn't think I was anxious about my mission ending and coming home.  But while my brain may be in denial, my heart couldn't lie.  I miss my mission already and it isn't even over yet.  There have a been several missionaries that have come come back to visit over the past couple of weeks and their sentiment was the same:  home sucks.  It's nice and good to see your family and be able to be by yourself and stuff like that.  But the sense of purpose that you have as a full-time missionary is no longer when you are released.  They have all said that they've had feelings of emptiness and want to be back on their missions.  Ay yayy yayyy.  I don't feel trunky. I am still able to be dilligent and obedient.  I guess the anticipation of an inevitable end is what makes for anxiousness.  For the first time in my life, I don't know what's next.  I've climbed a 23 yr ladder that has lead from one rung to the next.  I guess when my mission ends I'll have to dive off the ladder with faith that God will help direct me towards where he needs be to go next, what I need to do next, and who I need to be next.  It's incredibly exciting but terrifying at the same time. 

Don't worry about me.  I got some anti-inflammatory pills, some scattered sunshine, 4.5 months of my mission, and a a testimony in a God of good things to come.  In the words of MJ: ...Don't stop till you get enough.  Haha.

-Sister Baylon

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hey guyyssss!

Greetings from Lacey!! It has been sooooo hott and sunny and muggy lately.  So of course, today on PDay it would be gray and not that hot.  My new comp is Sister Daines from Colorado Springs but originally from Cache Valley, UT.  She has 22 brothers and lie.  But like half of them are adopted or from blended families.  She is pretty nice.  But...yesterday she said she has never watched Nacho Libre and turned it off cause she thought it was stupid.  Yeah...we definitely are wayyy different.  But not everyone can be Holmans and Chronisters.

Fun Facts as of late:
- i ate angel food cake that had mold on it.  Yes, mold.  I scraped off the mold and then choked the rest of it down. I am still alive.
-4th of July was legit!  We had our transfer meeting then the entire mission had a barbecue at the Lakewood stake center afterwords (only down side it was in pros aka proselyting clothes).
- i got free shave ice from the Stowers at the Steilacoom street fair. They were raising money for their hula group.  A bunch of their students were dancing infront of the stands.  They put on this song that i think is to a dubstep song and these cops joined in and did it with them. So we weren't gonna let the Fuzz show us up so like 4 sister missionaries including me jumped in and did it.  Sooo funny.
-i raked mowed grass in 88 degree heat.  I was sweaty.
- this lady told us that she didn't want to join the church cause she didn't want to get arrested.  ok....

Oh man what a week.  I am still trying to readjust and find my groove with taking over the areas and getting used to my new comp.  We had kind of a rough ish week.  Lots of cancelled appointments and an investigator dropping us.  But there were so many amazing things that happened that off set the bad.

The most amazing being that Josh got baptized!!!! MIRACLE.  He is one of my most favorite people from my entire mission.  He was baptized Sunday night by his friend, David, in the ward who is 16.  That room was overflowing with the spirit.  I gave the missionary message directly following the ordinance while the boys were changing.  I was so overcome with joy and gratitude for the opportunity and the privilege it was to find, teach, and baptize Josh.  What a transformation.  He was always a really good kid for us.  Always polite and kept commitments and learned really quickly.  But his family said it was a night and day change from their perspective.  He used to be really wild and disrespectful and rude and just not making good decisions.  He was just beaming after he got out of the font and kept saying how good he felt.  He was confirmed in sac mtg yesterday and is receiving the Aaronic Priesthood tonight at the church from the same boy that baptized him.  Josh is taking off for Mexico for the summer so we want to make sure he gets ordained before he leaves.  He might baptize his 12 yr old nephew this week before he takes off!  MIRACLE.  After the baptism Josh told us that he has a desire to serve a full-time mission and wants to go as soon as he can.  We told him that he would have to wait at least one year before he could go and he told us he would start saving.  How rad is that??  Everytime we saw Josh as we were teaching him he would be a group of 4-5 guys (the ones that were in that picture).  The first time he came to church he came with all of them.  The second time he came with one.  And when he was confirmed yesterday he came alone.  None of his friends came to his baptism on Friday and I was so bummed!  They had gone through the process with him to some extent, yet were not there to reach the end with him.  Such a testimony to me of doing what's right even if you are doing it alone.  While his friends were off doing things that teenage boys do in the summer, Josh was at the stake center with his family entering the waters of baptism and following the example of the Savior.  He truly is the elect that heeded the call of the Good shepherd that invites all to "Come and Follow Me."  He is so special!!!

Yesterday it was so hot.  We were not exactly enthused to go out finding. (Doing all of my 5-7's is something that I am really trying to get back into the habit of doing)  We had just eaten dinner and slipped into a food coma.  We were so tired.  But I knew that we needed to go knock doors.  We finally picked a street that felt right.  We have been wanting to have a baptism for 6th ward, the less fruitful of the two wards that we cover, and find someone from knocking doors.  There hasn't been a baptism in 6th ward since February and there hasn't been a baptism from tracting in a long time.  Tracting in 6th ward is difficult.  It's the wealthiest area in the stake and people are just not interested and rude.  Ya not the ideal investigator candidates.  But we decided to hit the streets in 6th.  In my prayer I offered right before we got out of the car, I asked Heavenly Father to help us find a family.  I asked for a mom, a dad, and a kid.  I have never baptized a full family, just siblings.  Jill had written me a legit letter this week and in it she said that "God takes our prayers as seriously as we do."  Amen to that.  So I was determined that God would help us find what I had asked for because I was serious and full of faith.  The street was wayyy lame.  Everyone was rude and weird or no one answered their doors.  Except, the last door that we knocked on.  It was the nicest house on the street which of course makes for doubt and disbelief from my viewpoint but we knocked it anyway.  We were greeted by Pronny (sp?) a thai lady.  She invited us in and told us that she was Buddhist but looking into the idea of Christianity through trying to find God.  In her broken english she asked us why there are so many churches and people that believe different but similar things.  We briefly taught her about the great apostasy and the need for the Restoration of the gospel.  Then her husband comes home. where is the kid?  They then told us they had a 19yr old daughter that was going to the local community college.  The daughter and Pronny have been attending a church but both of them aren't sure what is really going on there and what the things that go on there mean.  A mom, a dad, a kid!! We invited them to come on a tour of the church and Pronny said she would like to come check it out!  MIRACLE.

I think that Heavenly Father is gonna test and stretch me this transfer.  I can already feel it.  A wise WA-TAC missionary once said, "there is no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone."  I know that to be true.  I am grateful for my weaknesses, shortcomings, and imperfections so that God can handmold me into someone more like Him if I allow the Atonement to work in my life.  I am really making a conscious effort this transfer to watch my speach and language.  To speak less casually and more dignifed.  To not engage in backbiting and gossip and all the junk that floats around this mission.  Lately, all this junk and gossip and rumors have come up that people I don't even know or have ever even seen let alone met, have been saying about me.  At first I was just annoyed and upset that people were lame enough to one, say it, but that two, lame enough to listen and believe it.  I felt like I wasn't guilty of the things that people were saying and that I was so much better than this image that was being falsely portrayed.  In no way am I making a comparision to the Savior, but I thought of Him and the despise and hatred and persecution that was heaped upon Him when he was guiltless and innocent.  That people chose to torture and kill the Son of God and that He loved them enough to let them use their agency so that He could be the infininte and eternal sacrifice for sin.  I am not trying to be a martyr, but I am willing to look past, ignore, and forgive people that have said mean and hurtful things about me because I know that the only person that I really care about what they think is Christ.  What thinks Christ of me?  I can only do my best and that is enough for me and Him.  You might not always start gossip, but you always have the choice to stop it.  What will you do?

Love you guys,
Sister Baylon

Monday, June 18, 2012


Alright fun facts as of late:

- i forgot to mention that last PDay our car got broken in to.  Yeah...i knoww...LAME.  We went out to leave for the day and were greeted by our entire driver side window shattered with glass everywhere.  All they took was the GPS we were borrowing from the bike elders.  It was hidden under the seat, too. 
- we went to the Pt. Defiance Zoo in Tacoma.  Super swanky zoo, but real little.  It's got nothing on the SD Zoo.
-the bishop for one of the wards i cover looks and talks like Ben from LOST. yikes!
- I finished the Book of Mormon this week making it the 4th time I've completed it on the mission.
- I saw this girl from one of my wards from BYUI at a stake RS activity/
- I met a kid from our ward that served around John Gove in Jersey.
- I found out there is a place called Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
- there is a large population of bearded ladies in WA state.  Lack of sunshine, perhaps?
- Shauna!! my new mission buddy Elder Trevin Keeney knows your fam!  haha he is in your home ward and collected fast offering from you guys as a deacon.  Small world.

- intro to dinner conversation we had this week:
Lady: "So where are you from?"
me: California
Lady: So where you born here?
me: am from California.
Lady: No, where you born in the states?
me: as in the...United...states....question mark.....
Lady: Yeah.
me: did my accent give it away?
Lady: I don't do well with accents
me: good thing I don't have one.
Lady:...I'm confused.....
me: yeah.......

Haha man how are you guys?? Things are great here in Laceytown.  So much going on!  We had a baptism on FRiday for a 16 yr old boy named Dayton.  He is way cool. Has long shaggy hair and is way tall.  It was an amazing race worthy task to try to find a baptismal jumpsuit that fit someone that wears a 28x34 pant.  But we found one!  His parents didn't come and support him, but they at least let him get baptized.  His best friend, Gabe, got to baptize him and it was soooo neat.  Dayton told us that he always loved being at Gabe's house and loved the way that he always feels when he goes there.  It was a refuge for him and his kind of tense family life at his house.  He was confirmed yesterday during Sacrament meeting and showed up looking sharp in his white shirt and tie.  He was interviewed for the priesthood yesterday after church and a few hours later that evening he texted us and said that words cannot describe the feelings of happiness that he feels and that he owes us big time.  I bet he'll serve a mission one day.

I hestitate including this into his story.  But...I feel like I should. So Dayton's baptism like I said was on a Friday.  The following day was this giant stake-wide Relief Society activity that has been publicized forever.  So when we were planning to have the baptism about a week before it actually happened we ran into some conflict with the stake RS president.  Long story short:  She did not want missionaries in the building. On the premises.  Basically in the city limits.  She didn't want anything impeding the setup of her activity and that a baptism would completely get in the way.  We explained to her that baptisms and funerals trump all other uses of the building regardless if the rooms where already scheduled to be used for something else.  She wasn't having it.  We had already announced it in church and people were going to be coming from all over town to come to this.  She tried to make us move it to Olympia's bldg which is like 25 min away downtown.  Nope, not happening.  We told her to talk to the stake president and the story continues on to the most heated battle and war of words I have ever been involved with.  We were literally fighting tooth and nail up until 6:45 over this baptism that was happening at 7pm.  It made me realize that some people don't see us for who we really are.  Representatives of Jesus Christ.  Called on the earth to perform His work and labors by His authority.  No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.  But conversely speaking, hallowed hands can.  Luckily, at the last minute we were still able to have our baptism, Dayton had no idea it almost wasn't going to happen and I gained a further witness that the Devil will stop at nothing to stand in the way of righteousness.  I am not just some silly girl in a skirt like this lady was talking to us like, but "I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ the Son of God.  I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have everlasting life." (3 Nephi 5:13) MIRACLE.

Another miracle was the baptism of Marco!!!! Marco is the most special guy.  We met him tracting in Lakewood and referred him to the spanish elders and he got baptized this past week.  Can you believe that?? I looked back on the last planner and the amount of time since we first met him to his baptism was almost 1 month to the day.  The story goes like this.  We were running late to go knocking. Our dinner appmt had run long and we hadn't planned a place to go finding.  We were driving around heading towards this one part of town and I immediately felt like we needed to stop at this one apt complex at this particular bldg.  We had just knocked it the week before so Chronister was a little hestitant but humored my prompting and we proceeded to knock it.  It was a 3 story building and I remember that we knocked all but the last door on the last floor because we had to leave the first time we were there to go to an appmt or something.  So I just had this feeling like we needed to go back and knock just that one door.  We marched straight to the top and knocked.  Marco opened the door and greeted us a little hesitantly but very polite and nice.  We talked to him very briefly and I shared a scripture with him.  He speaks very good english but with a pretty thick spanish accent.  He is really fair skinned which kinda threw me off when that thick spanish accent came out.  We called the spanish elders right then and there and had them talk to him.  They ended up setting up a time and I never really heard much more than that.

So when I got the text from Lakewood that Marco was getting baptized I was thrilled!!! I called President and he let me go!  The entire service was in Spanish and was one of the coolest baptisms and experiences I have ever experienced and witnessed on my mission.  I talked to Marco after the baptism and with tears in his big brown eyes he thanked me for knocking on his door.  He told me that he was taking a nap after a long day at work.  He lives alone and is enlisted in the ARMY, far away from his family in Mexico.  He heard the knock on the door and figured it was a salesman and that he wasn't interested in buying in whatever this person was probably selling.  He tried to go back to sleep but something told him to get up. So he went to the door and looked through the peep hole.  He saw our name tags and wanted to know who we were.  Looking back from that moment to his baptism he said the feeling that he got to get out of bed and talk to us was the whisperings of the Holy Ghost guiding him to happiness and peace that he was looking for.  I asked him if he ever thought he would be baptized into the church when we first met him and he said he hadn't ever let the thought cross his mind.  He was confirmed fontside at his baptism as he was leaving for an assignment the next day.  Armed with the companionship of the Spirit, he said he is ready to take on whatever battle, whether physical or spiritual that he will face in life. 

This is His work.  This is the business of saving souls.  This is the way to eternal life.

Love y'all,
Sister Baylon

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Man I have gotten outta shape typing on the computer.  Luckily, I have gotten more in shape physically thanks to insanity.  This month on the 21st will be the first mission "Park Day" where everyone will park their cars and not drive.  The mission needs to really cut back on miles.  So that means either walk, ride your bike, or get rides from members.  I'm saving up to get a skateboard.  It's gonna be the new way I get around on park days.

fun facts as of late:

- I realized that it's never too late to try something new or develop talents you've always wanted.  Hence, I am planning on getting a skateboard.
- we live downwind of a mushroom factory.  Smells like dung and shrooms and nasty butt.
- despite our really plush apartment, our shower head is the worst in the mission, I swear. There is honestly more water pressure in a squirt gun. So it takes us like 30 min to shower.  It's a joke.
- I learned how to properly sew a button and hem stuff  from at this Relief Society activity
- At that same activity I also learned some self-defense skills.  The guy that taught the class is a "green beret" which I found out is pretty legit.  He told me I have good kicks. Years and years of soccer, baby.
- my college mentor, Brother Hochstrasser aka Bro H is from Tacoma and has family all over the mission.  His nephew and his family are in one of our wards here in Lacey
- I received a stellar package in the mail from the one and only Brianne Flint Semons.  I wrote you a letter and mailed it today!

Can I just tell you guys that I am the happiest person on planet earth??!!???!! I am seriously the happiest I have ever been in my life.  I just don't know how to put words to how I feel.  I feel like things are so simple and nothing can get me down because of my knowledge and testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I find joy in just about everything, even the bad stuff.  I feel hopeful and positive about the future.  I have real self-confidence.  I have real love for other people.  I feel like I have sluffed off an exterior shell bit by bit over the past couple months and now I am the person I have always wanted to be.  Still the same me in some ways just a lot better version.  And somethings about me are totally different.  When you learn and apply the basic priniciples of the gospel, i feel like the fog and confusion that can cloud your heart and your mind just kinds of disappates.  There are some scriptures I believe in 3 Nephi that talks about Nephi and Lehi shining with brilliant countenances like angels from heaven despite them standing in the midst of this fire that their enemies are trying to burn them with.  Not only were they not burned, but they stood as a literal glowing example to the opposers of righteousness. 

I thought of that story and likened it to myself and the work that I do.  The fires of life that try to burn us only can if we allow them to.  The safety and protection from these figurative flames comes from putting our faith, trust, and confidence in Jesus Christ.  The joy and fulfillment that comes from doing so, from knowing who you are, from knowing what your purpose is, and knowing that things will always work out if you rely on the Lord, is what allows your countenance to shine.  People can feel the love of the Savior when we love them first.  The feelings that come just fill you up from the inside out until you are just overflowing.  That's how I feel right now.  I know that the remainder of my mission won't always be cloud 9 but they can atleast be cloud 8.97 if I face the future with faith and hope in Christ's charity.  His selfless sacrifice for my sins.  For yours.

Yesterday before I left the apt for church, I knelt and offered a quick prayer petitioning the Lord to help me try a little harder to be a little better.  My prayer was answered verbatum when the high council speaker used those exact words as he began his talk.  Here are some notes from his talk that I jotted down:

- go out and TRY.
- A higher calling takes higher effort.
- resistance is good for defense, essential for growth.
- it takes 10,000 hrs to become an expert at something (I did the math and my mission is approx 13,140 hrs.)
- our thoughts are the blueprint of what we'll become.
- If we are comfortable, we are not progressing.
- constantly challenge ourselves.
- to change yourself, change your routine.
- think, speak, act spiritually.
-become more than we are.
- To trust HIM, we must know HIM.
- there must always be opposition.
-It is NEVER too late to change.

I can testify to the truth to all these little snippets.  To these flecks of gold that this man spoke of.  We will become better and be changed like a sunrise and not a flicker of a light switch.  Embrace and cherish the trials and hardships.  God must want to make you that much more polished.

"My strength is od the strength of ten, because my heart is pure."

Love you guys,
Sister Baylon

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cool things that happened this week:
-went to the temple.  This could be its own email in and of itself.  So I will just say that it was incredible.  The answers and revelation and peace that I felt at the temple have propelled me to be the most happy and excited and hopeful about my mission and life in general than I have ever felt..ever.
- I ate dinner at Celeste Kennard's sisters house!  When we realized that connection her husband called Celeste on the phone while we were at the table eating and I got to talk to her for a couple minutes
- found 3 secret trailer parks.  Tracting treasures lie in waiting for us.
- we have 3 investigators on date ofr baptism
-i chopped wood for the first time in my life.  The axe was kinda scary so I resorted to just stacking the wood that the elders chopped.  Following the wood chopping in the pouring rain, we got to hold cute bunnies at the bunny farm that we chopped the wood at.
- hit my year mark and burned a sign that said "TRUNKYYYY"
- a girl that was in one of my ward's up at BYUI had us over for dinner.  She is married with two kids.  Man. Weird.
I testify that God is in the details of our lives.  When I was sitting in the celestial room in the temple among all of my mission friends that I love, I looked down and stared at the upholstery on the chair I was sitting in.  From far away the chair seemed to glimmer subtly.  This is because there were little flecks of gold that were in the thread of the fabric.  The thoughts came to my mind as I sat in that Holy Place that my mission has had countless flecks of gold.  Lessons learned, experiences had, trials endured, heartaches felt, miracles witnessed, prayers answered, lives changed.  I had this fear going into the temple that my life hadn't really changed and was nervous that the Lord would be displeased with my mission.  As I traced the thread with my finger the Spirit whispered to me that maybe all of these things that have happened to me or that I have gone through have on their own seemed insignificant at the time or if they were significant I had forgotten about them.  But collectively looking back, they all add up together to make for a glorious gold nugget.  That I hadn't realized the changes that I have experienced, because I have been well...experiencing them.  To others maybe they will seem more obvious but for me they have come gradually over time and often at a hefty price.  But I feel relief, comfort, hope, and straight up joy knowing that the Lord is proud of me and the mission that I have served thus far.  And that He is willing to support me and endow me with power for the remainder of my mission so long as I am worthy of it.  If God be for us, who can be against us?
I feel like I am in the prime of my life.  So much joy to be had.  I don't know how I will fare when I am home and not surrounded with my mission peers.  I have a slight fear that no one will be able to relate to me and share the joy that I feel, because they won't know what it was like to get to this point. I love my mission so much and want to squeeze every possible ounce of what it has to offer before I come home. Missions are real life.  I'm grateful for the time that I have had to walk through fire because  now I feel like I am stronger and more refined.  I have become a northwesterner. Remember to always find the silver lining.  This is a beautiful life.
Sister Baylon

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Greetings from Lacey!!
Hey y'all.  Yeah, it's weird.  I have been saying y'all lately.  So much faster to text and type or say then "you guys."  How is everybodyyy?  Ps. Here is the correct updated version of my new address:
8220 Sweetbrier Ln SE Apt A201
Lacey, WA 98513
Laceytown is awesome.  So BIGGG. We cover 2 pretty decently sized wards so there is a lot to know and learn and remember.  And i am pretty sure that I got to get this down in the remaining 5 weeks because Holman has been here going on 6 months at the end of this transfer.  Hopefully, President sends me someone good to help me take over this area.  It kind of reminds me of all my past areas combined.  Spread out and woody in some parts like Silverdale.  Ghetto trailers and stuff like Btown.  And crackheads and normal people that make for lots of success like Lakewood.  The people here are pretty friendly.  they worship the sisters.  Makes for somewhat of an easier transition.
We went to this stake Memorial breakfast the other day and this 20something guy walks in with these two cute little girls and sporting a blue SD hat.  He ended up sitting right behind us and I asked him if he was from San Diego.  Turns out he was in the Vista 4th ward and then moved to Ramona at some point in his life but he knows tons of people that I know.  His name is Jesse Price.  He knows Rob Harmon and his wife from BYUH and consequently knows Brian Poppleton and Blakey Baxter.  He knew Karch Rondo haha from meeting him through Cameron.  He knew a bunch of kids from Vista.  Small world, eh?  I always love meeting or running into people from home.  Makes it seem less far away.
How was your bday Scott?  I'm glad you loved the WA-TAC socks.  I love the mission pride that there is here in the WA-TAC.  I never got into school pride, even in college.  Prob cause I never really felt that proud or connected to my schools. But I love it here so much. I love WA pride too.  We went and explored downtown Olympia yesterrday.  So RAD.  I love that place.  So artsy.  Haha.
Mom, I got the package.  We had to go up to Lakewood on Saturday because I got permission to go see three of my investigators get baptized.  It was a MIRACLE.  Kids 8, 9, 10 all entered the waters of baptism.  I never thought the day would come for two of them.  Leann, 9, and Derrick, 10 are brother and sister and are the most painfully shy little Viatnamese kids you would ever meet. On the surface you would think they were progressing as fast as molasses but they really did comprehend everything that we were teaching.  They just wouldn't really volcalize it all too often.
The past couple weeks have been mission changing for me.  I sent off a few of my closest friends out here in the mission as they completed their time serving here in the WA-TAC.  Such bittersweet emotions seeing them go and leaving Steilacoom all at the same time.  I have come to find my mission to be sacred and special.  This is where I have come to know Christ as my personal Savior and Redeemer.  I have self-discovered.  I have stretched.  Grown.  Been tested and Tried.  I have triumphed.  I have accomplished.  I have suffered.  I have walked through fire.  But I have done so with the Lord.  We are going to the temple tomorrow.  This will be the first time in nearly a year.  I cannot wait for the time that I will have to be instructed and taught and also the time I have to reflect on the past year of my service.  To then look forward to the remaining 6 months and magnify every minute left of it.
Miracles are to be found.  They are conditional only according to our faith.  "To get something you've never had, you must do something you've never done."
Love y'all
Sister Baylon

Monday, May 7, 2012


TGI-Pday.. man another week of trials and testing times.  Pday always seems to come in the clutch for us.  We did insanity this morning.  It's been a really fun way to strengthen our district as well as our quads.  hahah. Getting up early to do it is more than half the battle.  But I think the effort is paying off.  I feel a lot stronger and healthier during the work and I think we all look a little better too.  Today we are going out to hike to a sunken battle ship.  How rad is that?  At low tide you can actually hike out to a sunken battle ship that has sunk to the bottom of the Sound.  Washington is so cool.
We had a mission conference this past week and Elder Gavarett from the Seventy came to visit the mission.  I could talk about a lot of things, but for the sake of time and not re-hashing old wounds I will just say that he lovingly but sternly told the mission that we need to pick it up.  Things we could improve and things we can be better on to rise even higher than we already have.  He set a goal for 170 baptisms in the month of May.  It's been done before, we reached almost 200 in October but lately baptisms have been slowing down.  But he did say that in his meeting on Thursday in the SLC temply with the apostles and President Monson he will tell them that the Washington Tacoma mission is willing and does heed the counsel of the Prophet.  So COOL.
Finding MIRACLE.  We had nothing planned at 1pm this past week on a Friday.  yikes.  That is the twilight hour if you have nothing planned.  No one is usually home so its hard to knock doors.  Most people are working.  Makes for hard times to teach lessons if you don't have one already planned.  We were so exhausted and just did not feel like working.  Sis Chronister suggested that we go street contact down by the ferry dock in downtown Steilacoom.  That has proved to be a successful spot for us in the past.  Except when we got there on Friday it was dead as a doornail.  No one out.  It was easy to give in to the temptation to complain or feel like we were wasting time.  But after we walked around a few blocks we ran into a miracle.  We came to the top of a hill at this really pretty lookout point.  There was the cutest Korean man sitting on a bench looking out at the Sound.  I told Sister Chronister that she was going to be the one to initiate the conversation.  Finding is not her strongsuit and I wanted to challenge her to stretch.  She refused the challenge and so I relented and started talking to him.  Within minutes he covered his eyes and let out soft but deep sobs.  He told us that he was visiting his family in WA and had come from Anaheim, CA.  He told us of his family problems and that he just is so depressed with no peace in his life.  He told us that he was contemplating suicide and that his heart is so hurt.  We taught him about God's love for us through the Book of Mormon.  When we were at the mission office this past week I felt impressed to grab a Korean Book of Mormon as we were heading out the door.  Good thing!  But it was back in the car and we were 3 blocks from it.  He got a phone call and said his family was coming to pick him up at the park.  We told him to wait there if he could and we would get the book. 
I don't think I have ever ran so fast in my life!  Let alone in a skirt.  There was a cop parked at an intersection and if he were to clock us we would have been breaking the law we were jammin.  haha.  We made it to the car and sped up to the hill.  He was still there!  I gave him the BOM and a copy of Finding Faith in Christ DVD and told him he could watch it in Korean.  Then I felt impressed by the spirit to give him a hug.  So I just reached over and gave him a hug.  He hugged me back and cried for a few seconds.  I could feel the relief that he must have felt as he physically let himself relax.  He told us that he visited Provo, UT once and that Mormons are the nicest people he has ever met.  He said when he goes back to CA he is going to look up the missionaries there and if he ever joins a church he is joining the Mormon church because they live the way that Christ would want his people to live.
I testify that He LIVES.  And that the gospel is true.  The power and miracle of the Atonement is real.
"We need to be constantly reminded of the eternal reasons behind the things we are commanded to do.  The basic gospel principles need to be part of our life's fabric, even if it means learning them over and over again.  That doesn't mean that this process should be rote or boring.  Rather, when we teach the foundational principles in our homes or in church, let the flame of enthusiasm for the gospel and the fire of testimony bring light, warmth, and joy to the hearts of those we teach."
- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Go out there and hug somebody.
Sister Baylon

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hey errrbody.
I am apologizing in advance for how short this email is.  I am super tired!  We woke up at 5:55 am to do the Insanity! workout with our district. Haha wow...Baylon is out of shape.  Driving around in a car for a year will do that to you.  My comp and I are really going to try to workout more regularly so we aren't so sleepy during that dreaded 2pm slump where your eyelids feel like they weigh 100lbs.
We saw soooo many MIRACLES this week.  Big and small.  We found 3 really solid investigators that I'm really excited to work with.  One of them is this filipino guy named Rolando.  We met him tracting and he was outside working on his car when we walked by his street.  His wife and kids left him a few years ago and he feels really sad and lonely.  He is carrying around a lot of guilt or shame because he feels like maybe it was all his fault.  We taught him about healing and forgiveness through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that relief can come almost immediately when we call upon His holy name.  We taught him about how to gain access to this power through baptism in His church and he is very interested and coming on a tour of the church.  He asked us why we are walking around just talking to people about helping them.  We told him we do it because we love the Lord and we know that what we teach is true and that it can help people in whatever situation they find themselves in.  He told us we must be angels sent to him to get out of this darkness he has been in. SO COOL.
We turned over our investigator, Teresa, to the spanish elders yesterday.  Couldn't have gone better.  They were so excited to get the referral and to be able to teach the first lesson to such a prepared person.  Even though my spanish is way rusty, I was surprised that I could understand the entire lesson.  There is a scripture in Alma 29:8 that talks about people being taught the gospel in their own language and lands.  It was so beautiful to watch her eyes light up and to see her grasp the simplicity of the gospel in her own tongue.  We are so glad we handed her over. 
Another miracle that we had was that we are finally starting to use some legitimate interpreters that speak ASL for little Pohai.  There is a couple that used to be in our ward that are both deaf.  But amazingly they can speak.  Not really sure how that works.  But the dad served an ASL speaking mission and they are both so excited to help us teach Pohai.  It's so frustrating not being able to communicate with her about anything let alone the gospel, so I can't imagine how it must feel for her to be the only one in her family that is deaf.
We had 12 investigators at church!!! wahoooo! That is a record for me.  In Manette we had 8 and 15 with the two companionships in the one area but never double digits just with us.  MIRACLE.
The work is plugging right along.  It's picking up and our teaching pool is growing daily.  I love my companion and the mission and life are just peachy. 
Love you guys,
Sister Baylon

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

because it is His work

Hi Guys!

Man. Steila-awesome. I love my new comp, Sister Chronister aka "Chronic."  So nice to actually laugh again!  She is from Tuscon, AZ and his been out for 4.5 months.  We were both Silverdale born and bred both spending our first 3 transfers in the mission in Silverdale.  I am her first companion and first new area since her trainer.  And they were best buds so tough shoes to fill.  But we get along great.  She loves Nacho and we have the same taste in music and humor so I'm set.  Plus, she is ready to work hard and willing to sacrifice.  Our 4.5 months that we each spent in Silverdale were really different.  We both worked really hard, were exactly obedient, sacrificed a lot yet saw very different outcomes in measurable success. We're talking baptisms.  She went 15 weeks before she saw a baptism and I had a baptism my very first weekend in the mission.  Such stark differences.  It's not at all a reflection of their lack of trying, if anything, I'm sure they worked even harder than we did.  She is so humble and teachable and willing which is why I am sure Heavenly Father blessed her with such a miracle baptism her last transfer in the area. She is very wise and a good listener.  I respect her a lot. Her companion is dying at the end of this transfer, so my last comp, Jensen will kill her off.

Little triumphs this week:
We went running and worked out with the workout group this morning.
I successfully sewed my first skirt!
It was sunny and beautiful.
I got slurpee with my cool comp and took a nap during lunch on the grass at the park
I made oreo truffles for the Stowers and they ate them like grapes
A lessactive man that we invited to church actually came! a suit on his power scooter!

This week was jampacked with miracles.  We had a baptism yesterday!  A 13 yr old boy named Perry entered the waters of baptism.  I was just thrilled.  I don't think I have mentioned him or his older brother Phillip, 17, too much.  These boys are ridiculously smart.  Like freak genius.  The very first time I met them was at their house for dinner and the topic of conversation (that they instigated) was metaphysics, protons, neutrons, and nuclear reactors.  Hmm. Ok. Not sure if I have ever facebook chatted about that with my friends at that age but they do.  At one point, they both were just looking beyond the mark when we were teaching them.  Their intellect was getting in the way of their willingness to recognize and accept the Spirit prompting them to accept our invitation to be baptized.  They felt like they needed to know more, know everything.  That they would have to be perfect after they were baptized and that they were going to be making a huge commitment and wanted to be more ready to be this entirely different person.  They said that their dad, who lives in another city, wasn't always on the baptism bandwagon so that was another hurdle that we had to clear.  But patience, help from on high, and a conference talk from Elder Russell M. Nelson helped us slam dunk a baptismal commitment from the younger brother, Perry and he was baptized yesterday afternoon.  Such an amazing change to watch his secular knowledge lead him to have a desire and increase in spiritual knowledge.  He realized that they both coincide and that they don't have to be conflicting but rather complimentary.  I didn't get a chance to talk to Phillip after the baptism was over but we are hoping that his heart was pricked by the Holy Ghost and that he will follow suit and be baptized.  Their dad even came to their baptism.  MIRACLE. That was really neat and amazing to see him come out and support his son.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families.

Tracting miracles.  This week has been really awesome weather wise.  Except today its raining.  Of course.  But just about every other day this week was really nice.  So for tracting we were so excited to just head out and walk the streets of Downtownn Old Steilacoom.  It was 6:55.  We were heading back towards our car and we shouted to a lady from across the street telling her who we were and what we do.  Her name is Teresa (not the gringo Ta-ree-sa but with a spanish pronunciation Teresa) and she is from El Salvador.  Probably in her 50's.  She is a nanny for a family that lives in a really nice part of town.  She normally doesn't get off work till later in the evening but that particular night she got off early.  I bet, just so that we could meet with her.  She spoke pretty good english but it was apparent she preferred to speak in Spanish when she realized that both Chronister and I could understand and communicate with her in her native tongue.  We talked with her about the Book of Mormon and she told us that she used to nanny in NY and that she had met with some missionaries there but it was a long time ago.  But she was interested and willing to meet with us so we set up an appointment to go back and teach her.  She actually gave us a working phone number and correct home address so we were thrilled to come back and give her un Libro de Mormon.  After teaching her in her apt, the spirit confirmed to us that even though we could understand her and speak with her, we needed to hand her off to the Lakewood spanish elders so that they could teach her more fluently and that she could become part of a spanish ward. 

Saturday evening we were out tracting and not finding much success.  People weren't that mean but they weren't that nice either.  Last door of the night we knock into a guy named Rudy.  Filipino.  Widower.  Depressed.  Lonely.  Hopeless.  And drunk as a sailor.  Well, he was pretty buzzed.  We didn't know that until we were in his house and he straight up told us.  When he opened the door he immediately asked us to come in.  I looked around to see if there was a lady in the house, as it is a mission rule for there always to be another person of the same gender if we are to enter a home.  I didn't see anyone but I felt like there was the presence of a woman so I boldly walked inside.  I could feel my companion hestiate behind me but followed me in.  Right away he wasted no time in telling us that his wife had passed away 2 years prior and that he lived alone and was very depressed.  Uh oh. My gut reaction was to leave as per the mission rule but for some reason the Spirit prompted me to stay and hear him out.  He offered us a seat and something to drink.  We sat down and he left the rooma and came back with the biggest bottle of whiskey I've ever seen.  He asked us to excuse him because he was going to pour himself another glass, as he had been drinking all day.  It was a miracle.  Everytime he would reach for the bottle, we would teach, testify, or ask him a question and he would forget all about the alcohol and be completely engrossed in what we were saying.  Whenever we would pause or there would be a break in the conversation he would go to reach for the drink and then one of us would say something that would bring him back. I honestly didn't realize this until my comp pointed it out after we had left.  Seeing how depressed he was I got kind of nervous that he might be a little crazy or be someone to do something crazy.  Like kill himself...or us.  I was scanning the room for a gun or something that would pose a threat to someone's life.  At one point I got really freaked out because he reached for something on his back hip like someone would a gun.  I had noticed it was a leather holster looking thing but it turned out it was just a carrier for his phone.  Phew...I should have laid off the cop shows before the mish.  As soon as we wrapped up our brief discussion with him a scheduled a return appointment and we realized that our time with him that night was over, the trance was broken so to speak and he poured himself the biggest glass and drank it down like it was apple juice.  Sad, sad, guy.

The elders quorum in the ward got us a sweet miracle referral.  So they did a less-active blitz a couple weeks ago and went to follow up with this huge list of people or families in the ward that no one had either met or seen before in hopes of meeting them and inviting them back out to church.  Well one of the people that they tried to meet no longer lived at the apt that they had listed for him, but the family that had moved in invited the brothers in for a quick message.  It was a single mom and her two kids.  Apparently we had tracted into them about a week or two before the ward members did and just the kids answered the door.  They said their mom was looking for a church for them to go to and were currently settling with a baptist church.  Mmmm hmmm child.  Baptist churches in Lakewood are bad news bears.  Not exactly on team Mormon missionary.  Their mom wasn't home but they said to come back.  We kind of forgot about them.  Welll....the mom ended up finding a random Book of Mormon in their apt laundry room (probably one that we had planted with one of their neighbors and they dumped it in there) and she snatched it up real quick.  Started leafing through it and was waiting to find someone that would come talk to her about it.  So COOL, eh??? So we are going to go back and follow up with them.  So rad.  Blacktism.....

"When you work for the Lord- the obstacles before you are never as great as the power behind you."  So true.  I cannot believe that my year mark is coming up on June 1, 2012.  Including this transfer, I only have 5 transfers left in the mission.  Ah! What is that even about.  I can't really imagine life outside the mission.  I find joy in fulfilling my purpose as a missionary and serving.  Some of my good, good mission friends are going home this transfer.  Sad day.  All the more reason to squeeze every last drop of every day I have left on my mission.  I have a testimony of this work that I am a part of.  It's the best work that there is.  Because it is His work.

Love you guys,
Sister Baylon

Scott- girls from the ward here are gonna scope your FB
Congrats to all the encinitas kids that are getting/just got married!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Is it Wednesday yet?  Nope, not counting down till transfers or anything.  Actually I am.  I am ready to close this chapter and start anew.  I am staying in Steilacoom! Wahoo!  I actually am excited about that.  President said I'll probably be here a while so probably 3-4 transfers.  I'm ok with that.  It's a great area.  The companion that I am getting is Sister Chronister who is coming from my mission birthplace up in Silverdale.  Her and sister Jensen are actually swapping places, so Jensen will take her spot up North and kill off a dying sister that goes home at the end of this next transfer. (such weird missionary jargon, i know).  So my comp will be a greenie.  Should be good.  Hopefully she works hard and we can make up for a lot of lost time here in Steilacoom.  This past transfer wasn't my best in terms of dilligence or success.  Which I can attribute to obedience.  Partially due to me, partially due to my companion.  Won't dive into details but I am going to be a lot better this time around.
We might as well start off with a good food story.  Well, "good" in terms of the story and not so much "good" in describing the food.  I think it's more than safe to say that I DO NOT LIKE SEAFOOD.  We were tired and hungry and not really wanting to talk to each other, so a dinner with the Barnes family was going to be my saving grace.  I thought in the back of my head just as long as we don't have something weird like oysters, I think I'll be able to call it a good.  So of course we would have oysters....Of course.  But, I have become a food dare devil and I tried everything they put in front of me.  Raw oysters...hmmm. Not so much.  I liked the cooked ones.  Bro. Barnes made them from a Camodian recipe he got from a friend and cooked them out in the grille.  Like chewing on well...something chewy.  Artichoke was next.  Nope, I think I'll stick to artichoke dip from Chili's and not the steamed kind that you eat plain.  Then we had lobster tail.  I am probably describing a delicious meal to many of you, but to me it was a waste of I'm sure a lot of money and some poor lobster's perfectly functioning tail.  Oh, I forgot, as an appetizer I munched down on a Habanero pepper.  I love hot stuff so I figured that I might as well try it.  Hot dannng it was hot.  And of course I didn't think to take the seeds out.  Within seconds the entire right side of my tongue was numb.  Made the rookie mistake of licking my lips and then set those babies on fire too.  Needless to say, it was hot.  But I liked it.  My comp wouldn't do it.
How was everyone's Easter??? Mine was fantastic.  It was so nice and sunny and warm 70degrees!  Can you believe it?  I almost didn't.  We had a great church meeting and dinner with the Tate family.  Home made chicken noodle soup.  Phew!  I was worried we were going to have ham.  Yuck.  But we didn't.  They were expecting it to be cold and raining so soup was what they thought would sound good to us.  We ended up getting 4 easter baskets!  Well, Jensen got 3 and I got one extra from the Graves family!  Wendi and the gang did a tour of the mission and hand-delivered Easter goods to all of their favorite sisters.  Like they literally spanned the mission.  They are the COOLEST.  The RS president made us a basket just stacked with treats.  Our WML's wife made us one and the family that we ate dinner with got us one too.  But of course, the real reason for the season or meaning of yesterday was to recognize and remember that Christ overcame the grave and that HE LIVES.  There is a really cool link to a video on about it.
So good right?  I love that video.  People tell us all the time, "Wow, you missionaries sacrifice so much.  I could never do that."  But really it is nothing compared the infinite and eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  There is this poem that someone gave me about times when missionaries want to quit because it's hard and compared it to the Savior.
"Is it worth it?" I said as I reach our place,
to get that door slammed in our face/
"Is it worth it," I said, with a heavy sigh,
"to wear this stupid shirt and tie?"
"Is it worth it?" I said, when it's 40 below,
to walk for miles in a foot of snow.
I wonder what my friends would say,
If I were to go home today?
It's not the things your friends would say,
but what the Lord would do today.
What if the Savior would have said,
"I think I'll quit before I'm dead."
"Is it worth it, Father?  To do this thing?
for a bunch of people I've never seen,
to sweat my blood from every pore,
so that man can live forever more?"
It's funny that I'm not struck down,
for being such a selfish clown,
my trials aren't so bad after all,
compared to Christ's they're kind of small.
So if you're feeling kind of sore,
because somebody slammed their door,
try sweating blood from every pore,
for people you've never seen before.
I cannot really accurately express what I feel when I think of the Savior and His love for all mankind.  Even enough to suffer, bleed, and die.  The least I couldn do is knock some doors and cry some tears so that others could gain access to his infinite gift.  "Work cannot always be agreeable.  Since we shall have to learn it sooner or later, we might as well begin now to learn that we cannot always do just the things we like to do and work only when we feel like working."  Sometime I don't feel like working.  Sometimes I'd rather just go home.  Sometimes I want to walk away from my companion.  But sometimes I feel overwhelmed with love and joy.  Sometimes I feel a decimal of what the Savior feels for us when I see someone in need.  Sometimes I give really freely.  But I ALWAYS love my mission.  I can't think of any other way to be more like Christ.  I can't imagine He liked suffering or feeling angusih and grief for us.  But He did.  So why are we paying for it again by suffering in sin alone?  Just as He was raised on a cross, we too, can be lifted up.  From a sinking hole to a higher plane.  One that will one day elevate us to live with God again.
Love you guys,

Sister Baylon

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

obedience does not restrict. it frees


I am exhausted.  It was 65 degrees today!!! Our zone played outside at Fort Steilacoom park for a few hours.  Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, and football. Felt way good to run around and feel hot and sweaty.  Not too often that I get to do that.  Our zone always complains about being bored with nothing to do on PDAYS. Well...when no one takes initiative and steps up to make the plans then that tends to happen.  I usually am a pday coordinator but the last zone I was in one of the other sisters didn't like that I always "controlled" pdays.  Lame. So I have kind of backed off of taking charge of Pdays.  So anyways.

I spent the greater part of the morning with a lady in our ward at the fabric store in Tacoma because she is teaching me how to sew!  It has been the biggest dream of mine lately to take sewing lessons but never thought that I was able to achieve that goal on my mission.  This sister made tons of cute pillows and slip covers and table runners and curtains and stuff in her house and even has made a lot of the skirts that she wears to church.  So, Bro Stowers bought me some sewing lessons from her at the YW auction this past week!  Haha the YW put together a dinner/auction to raise money to go to girls camp.  We were invited to attend but I had no money so couldn't bid on anything.  I sat with the Stowers family and Bro Stowers asked what I would want to bid on if I had money and I said the sewing lessons.  So he bought me three 2hr private sewing lessons for $40.  Sweeeetness.  She offers free classes during the week on tuesdays but I can never go because we have to work.  But with the private classes I could choose my day so I picked today (pday).  She is teaching me how to make an A-line skirt and this really, really nice messenger bag.  Her stuff doesn't look home-sewn at all.  Really quality stuff.  I told her that she should start a business on etsy or something.  She has really good taste in textiles.  I'm so excited!!!

I got to help one of the Agor girls make a dessert for the auction for people to bid on.  Her mom took her to buy a ton of stuff to make cake pops.  Have you guys ever seen those before. Sooooo cute.  They bought this book with all different kinds you can make.  Owls, ice cream cones, pandas, all kinds of cute little things.  We made easter egg ones and arranged them in an easter egg basket.  It sold for $30!! So by the end of the night the ward raised enough money to send each YW to camp. So cool.

This email is going to contain lots of things about food that happened this week.  This week I had one of the best meals on my mission and I also added something really nasty to my "foods I've tried on my mission" resume.  So for about a month I have been craving just a delicious crisp yet soft Belgian waffle with fresh berries and cool whip.  I have had several members attempt to make it for me and all fail miserably.  They never learned the phrase "Never Eat Soggy Waffles" when they were growing up and learning how to tell where was north, east, south, and west.  So this lady in the ward that signed up to feed us took the challenge to make a non-soggy waffle. Oh mannnn, it was sooo good.  Like hotel quality.  She had it all set up in these nice dishes. Fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. 

Nasty food eaten this week: kuikui (coo-ey coo-ey).  Samoan version of raw sea urchin in this like orange sauce atop a chunk of tarot root.  Ohhhhkkaaayyy.  I gulped it down like a champ.  It was almot worse than the eyeball. Sooooo salty.  I bet Grandpa Ted would have liked it.  I also ate this Samoan raw fish in this like white sauce.  Turkey tails.  Aka the butt of a turkey.  Cornbeef chunks. yikes.  And this curry soup that had all the bits of a chicken that you are supposed to throw away.  Um the like pimply skin that you see when its raw.  Or the vertebrae.  Yeah....I mean it's cool to say that I've eaten all that stuff but it was painful to choke down.  I made Bro Stowers finish mine.

Conference was AMAZING.  I forgot to bring my notebook with me to the library, I was going to email you guys a bunch of the notes that I had taken.  But I forgot it.  So inspiring.  The major lesson or feeling that I took away from conference is that I am so fortunate and blessed to have the knowledge and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ that I do. That I have everything before me to be happy and have joy in this life.  To have the tools and the resources to receive answers from on high.  To know that I have a divine heritage and a purpose and plan for my life.  To have a vision and a means to an end in which I am striving everyday to be just a little more qualified for.  To become more like the Savior that I am lucky enough to know lives and that He loves me.

When the prophet walked out into the conference center for the first session on Saturday morning it was an immediate feeling of the Spirit that washed over me in the form of peace and assurance that Thomas S. Monson really is a prophet of God.  That he really does communicate with Him for us.  And that how brilliant it is that I can trust and be led by God through whatever the prophet will advise, counsel, warn, or challenge me to do in my life.  The warmth and comfort from just seeing him enter the conference center in Salt Lake City on the projector screen in the church touched my heart a 1,000 miles away in Washington.  We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.  I saw President Waddell sitting with the Seventy before one of the sessions had started.  I also got to see Natalie, Shauna Sargent's younger sister sing in the MTC choir!  So neat!  She is going to south america on her mission. Cool cool.

We watched the Sunday morning session at the Agors.  We had the most delicious Sunday breakfast.  Island style.  The most buttery french toast you'd ever eaten.  Prabably because they slather them with butter.  Eggs. Portugeuse sausage.  Rice. Crumb donuts. Bacon. Sausage.  POG. Fruit.  We all watched conference together and just had the best time ever.  After the morning session on Saturday Elder Quigley, one of the car czars for the mission took the entire Lakewood and Tacoma zones out for lunch at Tacobell. So like almost 50 missionaries!  He bought almost 100 tacos for us.  So fun.

I have a testimony that the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ bless our lives and make us free on the condition that we are faithful and obedient in adhering to the laws of God.  We tracted into this 20 something yr old guy named Andy.  Andy said that he lived next door to some Mormons and started making fun of how many rules that they had to live by and how sheltered of a life that they lived.  He went on to say that he didn't need a church to know God and that he finds error in people.  We taught him that the commandments are not to restrict us and keep us bound making our area of living smaller. But rather quite the opposite.  It keeps the evil and harm and tragedy out of our lives that is within our control actually granting us a large area of living or freedom.  We told him that our purpose as missionaries is not to merely add numbers to the church or to convert people to the church.  The church is merely the scaffolding in which we build our lives in the gospel.  We are inviting people to receive the saving ordinances of the gospel and not just to attend a church.  The church helps us to gain knowledge and strengthen our faith in the gospel.  We invited him to come to church and watch a session of general conference. He laughed a smug laugh and pulled up the bottom of his jeans pant leg to reveal an ankle bracelet.  He had been caught driving drunk a few years back and hit someone while under the influence.  Point proven.  Obedience does not restrict.  It frees.  Now Andy literally is going to be imprisoned for his bad choices.  He is on house arrest until June until he goes to state prison.  Make the choice now to be free by adhering to God's laws.

Aunty Allison, do you know a half chinese lady on your street named Maelynn?  Her family is in the ward that I am serving!  There is a PMF in our ward.  The mom is a member and the Dad is Chinese but raised in Mongolia and not a member.  He is dying of cancer.  I'm not sure if she is active or not.  Her family here in WA is kind of less-active so when she said that she had a daughter that lived in Sandy, UT I got excited and asked what part and she said Gracey Lane.  Such a small world!  Another small world story is this senior missionary couple in the mission named the Foleys.  They are from Laie, HI and know so many people!  Do you know them?  They knew the Elkingtons.

Way cool story to close.  We went tracting yesterday and rang this doorbell.  Well I guess when I rang the doorbell it got stuck and it was ringing for like 2 minutes straight!  Awkward.  I didn't know what to do so I figured we should just bust out of there.  Sis Welch told me that happened to her when she was in Steilacoom and the guy that lived there got super mad at them so I figured it was the same house.  Nope different guy.  As we were walking down the driveway to leave this man opened the door and said that he was sleeping and the doorbell finally woke him up.  We got to talking and told him about who we were and what we do as missionaries.  He seemed really intrigued and said that he has really enjoyed the "I'm a Mormon" commercials on TV.  He wants to come check out the church!  MIRACLE.

Well, I love you guys. Hope everyone has a great week.  Just got the Rondo's package today. Thank youuuu!!! The kale was...interesting. I'm going to have to acquire a taste for it.  Mom, I just got your package today, too.  But I haven't opened it yet.  Thanks in advance.

Be happy,
Sis Baylon